The Manelli family--brothers Pierre and Jean, and their sister Marie--are performing at the Carson Brothers Circus. Jean falls from the wire as the crowd stares in horror.
Sometime later, Joey is busy cleaning up the wagons. Tim tells him that he's hired the Marvelous Manellis for the rest of the reason. He doesn't know why they left the Carson circus, but is glad to get them for a third of the price. Tim asks Joey to pick them up at the train station since Joey knows them.
Later, Joey and Corky go to the station and greet Pierre and the young Marie. Corky is smitten with Marie, and Pierre says that Jean will be there in a couple of days. They go to the circus and Pierre tells Tim that Jean has business in St. Louis. Tim has no problem with that, and Pierre says that he wants Tim to see the act before he signs the contract. The owner is sure that the Manellis are the best act in the business, and Pierre warns him that they used to be. Joey explains that Jean was hurt in a fall, but Pierre insists that Jean will recover. Until then, he and Marie have a new act. If Tim doesn't like it then they'll call off the deal.
Corky shows Marie around the circus and shows off Bimbo. He's surprised when Marie is able to give Bimbo commands, and explains that she learned how to handle elephants when they toured in Sumatra. Pete comes over to tell her that Pierre wants her to get ready for the act. Pierre begins the act, dancing on the wire, and Marie goes up next. Corky eagerly applauds until Joey and Tim glance at him, smiling. Tim is satisfied and Pierre assures him that it will be even better when Jean gets there.
Later, Corky is working with Jojo when Marie comes over. Corky sends the chimpanzee off and starts swinging on the bars for Marie's benefit. She says that she's been out picking wildflowers, including one for him, and Corky asks if she met any special boys when she was touring the world. Marie says that she did but assures him that none were as cute as Corky. Jean arrives by carriage and Marie goes over to greet her brother. Corky is glad to help, until Marie says that he's strong for such a little boy.
At the Manelli wagon, Pierre greets Jean. Jean shows how he can walk without his cane, but hesitates when Jean says that they have to show Tim their full act. They prepare for the rehearsal, and Jean only agrees to perform when Marie begs him to. Tim and the others watch as Jean goes up but then falls into the net. Clutching at his leg, Jean insists that he can't do it. Pierre tells him that the doctor said that the trouble is in Jean's mind, but Jean insists that there is real pain and his younger brother dismisses him as a has-been. Once Jean leaves, Jean tells Marie that to be kind, sometimes a person must be a little cruel.
Later, Joey goes to their wagon and finds Corky on the bed, looking at Marie's flower. Corky explains that he's keeping it as a souvenir, and worries that Marie doesn't like him very much. Joey suggests that he play hard to get, but Corky says that he and Marie are having a picnic.
The next day, Corky insists on taking Jojo with them for the picnic. When Corky says that there's a swimming hole there, Marie says that swimming is for kids. Pierre tells Corky to take good care of Marie, and they leave. Pierre tells Joey that they won't be the show anymore and Jean wants to quit. Joey assures him that Tim still wants Pierre and Marie, but Pierre says that they perform together or not at all. They're going to the family vineyard in California.
Corky, Marie, and Jojo go to the picnic spot and Jojo climbs up in a tree. Marie contradicts Corky and picks a spot out of the sun, and Corky goes to get some rocks to hold the cloth down. Jojo grabs a box of matches from the picnic basket, takes them to the side, and starts setting fires. He goes back to the picnic, and the others soon see the now-raging fire. The horse runs off with the wagon, and Corky and Marie run off.
The horse arrives at the circus with the empty carriage, and the others see the fire. Pete rounds up the firefighting equipment and they head for the woods.
The fire cuts off Corky and Marie as they try to escape.
The circus workers arrive and discover that the main road is cut off. They go to the gorge, figuring that Corky will go there as well. They arrive on the other side of the gorge as the fire closes in. Pierre figures that if they had a rope then he could walk across, and Pete gets a rope while Pierre cuts a balance pole. Pete tosses the rope across and Corky ties it to a tree. Pierre comes over but trips, spraining his ankle. Jean says that he will get the kids and goes across as Pierre looks on, smiling. Once Jean makes it to the other side, he brings Marie over first. Pierre says that it's his turn and goes across to get Corky. they return to the safe side and Joey figures that Jojo can take care of himself.
Jean wonders what happened to Pierre's sprained ankle. Pierre admits that he made it up and tells Jean that they are both okay. Jean tosses the cane away, and Tim offers to rewrite the contract. Jojo comes across the rope on his own, and takes the match box out of his pocket. Pete takes the monkey off as everyone laughs. Marie tells Corky that he's the bravest man she's ever met and kisses him on the cheeks, and says that she'll be glad to go swimming him. Corky says that he'll let her know when he's ready and tells Joey that he's playing hard to get.
Written by Gadfly on Sep 17, 2017